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Now that you are legally entitled to drive a car you 1st need to know how the car works, what each control does and how to use them.
The controls can be separated into 3 parts: Primary, Secondary and Auxiliary.
- Gear Stick
- Steering Wheel
The 3 pedals are from left to right the Clutch, Brake and Accelerator. Your left foot is only used for the clutch and your right foot is only used for the Brake or accelerator. This is because at no time do you ever need to use the accelerator and brake at the same time so one foot can control both.
The Clutch is used if you need to move off, change gear or stop. The main purpose of the clutch is to connect and disconnect the power from the engine to the road wheels. Its needed so that changes can be made smoothly from one gear to another and also to stop without stalling. When using the clutch it always goes down fast and up slowly.
The brake is to be used gently. Its better to brake earlier and easier than later and hard. You can brake without needing to use the clutch but if you want to stop then the clutch must be fully down before coming to a stop. If possible you should avoid braking and turning at the same time as this can cause the vehicle to not turn as well or slow down as much. When entering a junction or bend it is best to brake in advance and turn while “under acceleration”. As with most aspects of driving there are times when extra braking while turning is necessary such as encountering a hazard.
Also known as the Gas pedal it makes the car go faster by adding more fuel to the cars engine. It is to be used gently and to increase speed gradually not only for smooth safe driving but economic fuel consumption.
When you first get into the vehicle you will get used to performing your cockpit drill. The aim of the cockpit drill is to make sure that you are comfortable in your seat and in a suitable position to operate the controls of the vehicle.
The cockpit drill is very important. The letters D.S.S.S.M help us to remember the order in which the cockpit drill checks must be carried out.
1.Door — must be properly closed.
2.Seat — comes in three parts,
2.1. Cushion – adjust the part that you sit on so that your left leg bends slightly when the clutch is fully depressed.
2.2.Back – adjust for comfort.
2.3 Head restraint – not head-rest. It is there solely to prevent whiplash injuries in the event of an accident. Adjust it so that it is directly behind your head.
3 Steering — checked by placing both hands on top of the wheel.
4.Seatbelt — ensure that the strap is flat across the chest.
5.Mirrors — adjust all mirrors to give the correct field of vision.
Once you have completed the cockpit drill you will be sitting comfortably and suitably positioned to operate all of the controls of the vehicle.
This turns the car on. The key needs to be turned clockwise through 3 stages and once the engine is “ignited” can be left alone. Before turning on the car the gear must be in neutral.
Usually as part of the steering wheel is used solely to warn other road users of your presence and never as a rebuke.
The purpose of indicating is to warn other road users of your intentions. If the indicator stick is on the left hand side then down is for left and up is for right. If its on the right of the wheel then up is for left and down is for right. This is because it always relates to the direction the steering wheel will be turning.
These have varying speeds relating to how heavy the rain is. The windscreen washer should always be topped up to ensure windows can remain clean while driving.
Dipped lights should be used in the hours of dawn and dusk, in built up areas, when facing oncoming traffic and when following behind another vehicle or in fog or heavy rain. At all other times the full beam can be used.
Tells the speed the car is travelling in either Miles per Hour (mph) or Kilometres per Hour (KPH) or both.
This shows the number of revolutions the crankshaft is doing per minute. The higher the Revs the harder the engine is having to work and so if the car is over 2000 Revs then the driver should consider changing up a gear or easing off the accelerator to slow down and ease pressure on the car.
This tells how hot the engine IS. If it moves towards Red then it may overheat and you should pull over before it gets too hot.
This tells how much petrol the car has. When the Fuel warning light comes on you should refuel as soon as possible. The light normally comes on with 8 litres of petrol left but if the petrol level goes down too low it sometimes means dirt and residue in the petrol tank is transmitted though the engine and can cause it harm.